Let’s start at the very beginning….. A very good place to start (did I mention I love showtunes?)

In RL I’m a thirty-something mother, wife and all-around geek. My husband and I have been a couple since 1990, got married in 1998, and had our gorgeous baby daughter in 2007. Yes, we’re slow to get around to things. In the intervening time we also picked up a nice house, three cats, and more computer equipment than we know what to do with…

I’ve always loved computer games. I had one of those Nintendo “Game and Watch” handheld systems at school, and bought a copy of “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” to play on my Dad’s Amstrad PCW. I always wanted a Spectrum, but my parents bought me an Acorn Electron because it was “more educational”. I’ve still got it in the attic 🙂

My long love-affair with MMOs began at University, where I discovered MUDs. Text based adventure games, with other people you could interact with. I was hooked, and nearly failed my second year because of them. I also met my husband in one such MUD – I was a lowly newb, and he was a powerful Arch-Wizard who helped me out 🙂

After University I played single player games like Civilzation, Diablo, Warcraft. Then my husband got this new game called EverQuest. He got really into it, and played it for hours. I was initially put off by the “third person” view – before then I had tried to play games with a similar interface, like Quake, but couldn’t get my bearings and ended up running around in circles. Yes, I was permanently lost back then too! After several conversations along the lines of “sorry babe, can’t come to bed now, I have to get my corpse back”, I was determined to see what this game was all about, and made a little character on my husband’s account. I ran around the world a bit, died by accidentally attacking an NPC (all too easy to do in EQ), and I was hooked.

We got me my own account, and I created my first character – a human Paladin. I played her up to the teens, but got frustrated because I wanted more spells. So I did some research, and decided the druid class sounded fun. So I rolled up a druid. A beautiful, half-elf druid. The random name generator suggested the name Tiniane, and away we went.

I played EQ for about 5 years. I’m the kind of person who is dedicated to one game at a time, whilst my husband always likes to have two or three on the go simultaneously. I did dabble with a few other games during my EQ time, most notably City of Heroes and Dark Age of Camelot.

And then came the time. Two new, big games were coming. EverQuest 2 and World of Warcraft. I took an instant dislike to WoW, without even trying it. Two things upset me about WoW. First of all, it was taking some of my friends away from EQ. And second of all, it was implementing regional servers. Those of us in the UK were being segregated away from our US friends. And that made me cross. I have a longer blog post about this in me, but suffice it to say in my 5 EQ years I had made many friends, a lot of whom were American. And to think that we couldn’t all move and play together in WoW was very irritating. So I was determined to boycott WoW.

My husband and I were on holiday in Florida the week that EQ2 and WoW were released in the US. We both picked up copies of EQ2, and he grabbed a copy of WoW. Neither of us were particularly grabbed by EQ2, but he liked WoW immediately. So early the next morning before he woke up, I created a baby druid on his WoW account, and gave it a go. I loved it immediately, and we had to go out that day and buy me a copy too.

As we had purchased WoW in the US, we were stuck playing on the US servers. A few friends also obtained US copies of the game, and we formed a small but active guild. I felt we “peaked” when we managed to get 10 level 70 members running Karazhan on a weekly basis, gradually learning and overcoming each of the encounters in turn.

Then our world turned upside down, with the arrival of our baby girl. It’s not possible to play on a schedule with a little one around – feedings and general unsettledness put an end to that. I did find I still had time to play WoW, but it was mostly very early in the mornings, when no-one else was around. I decided I would start an alt, and that it was probably time to switch over to the EU servers. I found out where some of my EQ friends were playing, and created a new character, again a Night Elf druid on an EU server. My goal was to have two druids at level 70, one on the EU, one on the US, so that when the WotLK expansion came out I could make a decision as to where I wanted to play.

Things have worked out really well on the EU servers. I have joined a lovely guild, and enjoy there being loads of people online at peak playtimes. Being in a new guild and wanting to help my guildmates has given me a new interest in improving my gear and playstyle, and I now feel I am a better druid and better geared than I was on the US servers. So my US account has lapsed, and is unlikely to be re-activated. I still dislike the regionalisation of servers, but WoW is such a good game I will live with it.

So here I am, waiting for the expansion, looking forward to levelling to 80. My husband and I levelled together from 60 to 70 (resto druid is not good at soloing, but great as a mana-battery for a demonology ‘lock), and I’m hoping we can do the same again 🙂

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